Faces of Triathlon: Nicole Thomas of Maryland

nicole thomas

In this post, I caught up with my friend and motivator, Nicole Thomas of Maryland. Find out what she had to say about starting out and what her plans are today.

Why did you decide to start triathlon training? What was your why?

In 2006, I started biking with a group of local women. On one ride a friend started telling me about a local, women’s sprint triathlon she had just done. I was fascinated and started thinking, “If she can do that, maybe I can, too!” The challenge sounded exciting!  

What year did you start?

I started biking as an adult in 2003, accepted the tri challenge in the Fall of 2006, and did my first tri in July of 2007.

Were you athletic growing up? If so, what sports did you play?

I was “active”, but not especially athletic… definitely not gifted in anything. I tried rec baseball around 12 but was not good at all. Played lots of neighborhood games with friends: softball, stickball, handball, paddleball, tennis, and bike riding. Tried cross country running in JrHS; I don’t remember getting any good coaching and never learned how to pace a race. I always had way too much left at the end. I think the coaches wrote me off as “not promising”. Started the following indoor track season, but hated that and quit after the first meet.

What was your favorite race or your greatest achievement?

My favorite triathlon was  Rocketman Florida 70.3 in 2015. This race took place at the Kennedy Space Center, and the bike route took us onto KSC grounds that visitors normally don’t have access to, including riding past launch pad 29A, where all manned rockets launched from. I’m a real space nerd and I was in heaven. I actually did the Oly there in 2013, but the 2015 race was so much better because I was joined by 4 others from my tri club. Such a great time.

The greatest achievement, though, would have to be finishing Ironman Louisville in 2017. This was another race made so much better because several others from my club trained and raced with me and others volunteered or acted as sherpas. There seemed to be a friendly face everywhere.

What do you have planned for this year?

 I will finally be racing 3 triathlons I originally registered for the 2020 season! Tupper Lake Tinman 70.3 in June, Centennial sprint tri in August, Outer Banks 70.3 in September, and the “Baltimoronathon Challenge”, 5k + half marathon, at the Baltimore Running Festival in October. 

Tell me about yourself. Are you married? Children? Ages? What do you do for a living?

I’m 61 and consider myself an “Adult-Onset Athlete”. I’m a trans woman and have a wonderful tri-supporting wife. My kids, a 30-year-old son and 25-year-old daughter, are academic overachievers and participated in sports throughout school, but aren’t active in anything right now. I support my triathlon addictions as a “Subject Matter Expert” for the National Cancer Institute, doing biomedical informatics that supports research throughout NCI and beyond.